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March 27, 2021

How much are your employee benefits actually worth?

Although they vary sharply across companies, employee benefits are designed to add value to an overall compensation package. Typically, they include things like vacation time, sick days, health and drug plans, disability benefits, life insurance, and retirement plans.

If you're lucky, they might also include items like a car or gas allowance, child-care, employee discounts, education assistance, legal assistance, gym memberships, etc.

But many people find it difficult to place a value on their benefits, preferring instead to focus on salary since it's immediate and tangible.

After all, you can't eat benefits and who says you'll even need glasses down the road?

The best way to put a dollar value on benefits is to ask your employer to do it for you. U of T. for instance, provides this breakdown to its employees. But, unless you work for a big company, that's not always possible.

To start with, here's a calculator that might help you get a handle on the numbers.

If you're reviewing a job offer, or comparing notes with your partner, try to compare the overall compensation package with a benchmark to see where you stand.

That's what Suba Iyer did, both when she first finished university and later when she started comparing her circumstances with that of her husband.

What value do you assign to your employee benefits? Or do you care only about salary?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...